A five-member panel headed by former Supreme Court judge HS Bedi is likely to submit its report on Monday suggesting measures to ban jokes ridiculing members of the Sikh community.
On July 12, the apex court asked the panel that was set up by Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee (DSGMC) to suggest ways to stop the circulation of jokes about Sikhs and their commercial exploitation in six weeks.
The top court is hearing a petition by a woman advocate, Harvinder Chowdhury, who shared her family members’ harassment in support of her plea. After perusing the report, the court is expected to pass some orders.
“She (Harvinder) has been very passionate about it. We must not waste more time on this. Tell the panel to formulate the mechanism within 6 weeks so that we are able to hold a proper hearing of the matter,” a bench headed by Chief Justice of India TS Thakur told DSGMC counsel, senior advocate RS Suri.
The other committee members are retired SC judge justice MY Iqbal, former bureaucrat Pawan Kumar Verma, Rajya Sabha member MP Bezbaruah and retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Raghubir Singh.
She narrated the harassment her children faced for being born as Sikhs. Chowdhury, who was accompanied by a battery of lawyers from the community, urged the court to hear the matter soon and pass some directions to stop bullying of kids in schools.
She said it should be mandatory for parents to give an affidavit undertaking their kids will not bully children from the Sikh community.
Besides Chowdhury, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has also sought a ban on circulation of jokes. It said that a stereotype has been created and Sikhs are being discriminated in society because of a particular language and religion.
The bench asked the counsel to give suggestions and assured him that it will certainly look into them. “We do not want any group to be an object of constant ridicule. But how can our order imposing the ban be implemented?” it asked.
Earlier, the court had acknowledged the contribution of the Sikh community in the progress of the country but said its orders had to be within the “judicial dimension” so that they were capable of being implemented.
“We cannot say something which is impossible for implementation,” it had said.